Saturday, February 9, 2019
10 THINGS FROM MEXICO
2 - THE NEXT QB: It was incredibly easy to predict the hirings of Craig Dickenson and Jason Shivers as the Riders' new Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator. I'm sure it wasn't difficult for Jeremy O'Day either, because the two were the best candidates by a mile. However predicting who will be the next QB of the Green & White is darn near impossible right now. However I'll say this: signing either Bo Levi Mitchell or Mike Reilly would immediately make your franchise a Grey Cup favourite. Is that worth $650,000-$700,000? I think so.
3 - PREDICTIONS: Not sure why but pretty well everywhere I go - even down here in Mexico - people are saying they don't expect much out of the Roughriders this year. That's bunk of course, and I'm not sure where that idea even came from. But the team's fate still rests almost entirely on the QB position and since we're potentially weeks away from that question being answered, I'll hold off on a prediction at least till then. Last year I forecasted 13 wins and the team ended up with 12. I'm optimistic for this season no matter who's behind centre. The win total prediction will be adjusted based on the calibre of QB.
4 - RIDERS IN AAF: The fledgling Alliance of American Football season kicks off this weekend. Courtesy RiderFans.com, here's a list of former Roughriders on AAF teams: ARIZONA - Erick Dargan LB, Carl Bradford LB; ATLANTA - TJ Barnes DL; BIRMINGHAM - Nick James DT, Keith Price QB, Trent Richardson RB, Blake Sims QB; MEMPHIS - Jeremy Cutrer CB, Montori Hughes DL, Zac Stacy RB, Davis Tull LB; SAN ANTONIO - Marquise Williams QB, David Cobb RB, Joel Lanning LB; SAN DIEGO - (not a Rider but, Brett Boyko OT from Saskatoon).
5 - AMBROSIE WORLD TOUR: I'll say this for CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie -- he sure can get people talking. Whether these global partnerships with football federations work out or not remains to be seen but Ambrosie is busting his a$$ on behalf of this league and for that, hats off to him. The most interesting thing will be to see how these players measure up in the CFL Combine against their Canadian counterparts - if the experiment gets that far - and in rookie camps against the Americans. However if at any point the level of play in the CFL drops off, the fans will sniff it out in a second.
6 - COACH MILLER SAYS: Plaza-worthy Rider coach Ken Miller weighed in on the CFL global partnerships from his home in the Carolinas. Don't forget Kenny spent a couple of years coaching pro football in Italy alongside Adam Rita. Miller wrote me, "Actions taken to build the sport of football are positive, and actions taken to promote the CFL brand demonstrate thoughtful futuristic planning. Developing players, providing them opportunities to compete while promoting cross-cultural experiences, and building CFL branding are worthy endeavors."
7 - OILERS GM: The search for the next GM of the Edmonton Oilers has been very quiet. Insiders say the Oilers' top two choices are Kelly McCrimmon and Mark Hunter. Also on the list could be Bill Guerin, Ken Holland and/or Mike Futa. It would appear McCrimmon is the #1 choice but it could create a conundrum for Kelly; does he accept an offer from Edmonton, or turn it down in hopes of landing the Seattle job?
8 - WRANGLERS: Kudos to the WHL's Calgary Hitmen for their Corral Series this week where they hosted 3 games in the Calgary Corral, donning comemmorative jerseys to honour the Cowboys, Centennials and Wranglers. They also hosted hot stove events to visit with Calgary junior hockey greats. This stuff gives me tingles! And the Wranglers were the first team my Dad ever worked for, so this series brought up a lot of emotions for me. The list of Wranglers alum is star-studded, including Mike Vernon, Dana Murzyn and Doug Houda. Good on 'em for remembering the past. I'd say we need to fire up the old Pats Faceoff Breakfasts in Regina and do the same here.
9 - FEEL THE RUSH: Saturday is Lacrosse Day in Saskatchewan (and Hockey Day in Canada, ironically) and the Saskatchewan Rush host a huge swing game Saturday night at SaskTel Centre when they welcome the Calgary Roughnecks. The Rush have lost two in a row and stand at 3-3. So, the question is; is the dynasty cracking, or can the ship be righted against the Rush's top rival? Very exciting! I'll be following the game on B/R Live.
10 - MESSED UP IN MEXICO: That's not me! And I'm not going to be like some of the others who are rubbing it in on Facebook that it's +29 here and -50 in Saskatchewan. However I am extremely grateful. After this stint in Puerta Vallarta, we're going to be venturing over to Huatulco which will be a first for me. I'm quite happy in this new phase of my life. Actually, far happier than I thought I'd be. Buenos Dias!